AUGMENTED REALITY….The 3DS works it’s magic!
The Nintendo 3DS system comes complete with six heroic character AR cards which are measured 3.5 x 2 inches and feature a question mark, Mario, Link, Kirby, Samus and Pikmin.
Taking the cards out I was pretty excited about what I was going to experience in full 3D effect. The question mark card is used most within the games and you need to use it first to get started on your AR discovery.
I’ve also experimented in different rooms to see the effects and whether the 3DS has the capabilities of coping in various light settings. Simply place the question mark card on a flat surface in a well lit area with the 3DS roughly 30 to 35 cm away. You have to keep the angle right and wait until it’s recognised by the camera. Within a few seconds a target board emerges from the card, slowly rising to show it’s full form. Positioning the camera you can move around and shoot the target using the right shoulder button. You’re going to be in for a serious treat the first time you cast your eyes on the AR image. The games are fun and offer an opportunity to see AR in an unbelieveable way like you’ve never witnessed before.
Once I had played around with the target, I was excited about what the other character cards had to offer. Once you’ve placed the cards down, the other characters start emerging from their cards. The lit up card starts projecting the famous Nintendo characters out from the card along with music or noises from the game that the character featured in.
I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life, it was truly amazing. The characters can pose using the A and B buttons and you can use the circle pad to move them around. It’s surprising how well you can manipulate the images and how realistic they looked. The characters image sizes can also be changed to small or large depending on what you desire. There are many mini games to play within the AR section of the pre-installed software, which will find you fishing and shooting targets. I don’t want to spoil it too much for you, but the 3DS does hold a few hidden secret items that you may not see initially. You’ve got to progress through various games to reap the rewards..wink ..wink!
Do you know what the funniest thing that happened while playing with the AR cards was?. Once you’ve got them all out and you decide to play with each of them separately, you forget the camera is always trying to detect them. So when I was just fooling around with Mario at eye level, a noise erupted from the background and I saw all the other characters creepily emerging from the cards. It is the strangest experience to see those characters staring back at you from the distance. After the initial chuckling and giggles had subsided, I manage to experiment a little more with bringing the Nintendo characters together and manipulating them in different poses, or even trying to get them to cuddle each other. The camera does get a little over excited when you’ve got all the cards together and you can’t overlap them either. I had so much fun just trying out different objects with them to see how the perspective would look and I was impressed. You need to be holding the camera at the right distance which is around 35 cm and the lighting does need to be good.
Taking the Nintendo 3DS through various rooms, I wanted to experiment with the lighting. The first experiment was using the AR cards placed on a carpet in a dimly lit room. Although the images did emerge from their cards, the camera had trouble detecting the AR cards effectively and became rather confused when I moved in different positions. My initial thoughts were that the AR card had become bent, but on further investigation it was the general lighting that appeared to be the problem.
Travelling to the next room with the 3DS under florescent strip lighting and with the cards placed on a piece of solid white cardboard, I started to use the AR cards once again. I noticed the AR images are much clearer and more defined. The camera experienced no problems in detecting the AR cards and didn’t have any issues with me moving the 3DS around. The camera remained fixed on the cards with no confusion, showing us that they do indeed need very good lighting to experience the best effect.